Report: Harbaugh highly unlikely to accept Michigan job

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Rich Rodriguez hasn’t even been officially canned (yet), and it appears that Michigan’s top option for a replacement is off the table.

According to Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press, and citing a source with knowledge of Jim Harbaugh‘s thinking, it’s highly unlikely the current Stanford coach would pursue the job at his alma mater if it came open.  Instead, the Free Press writes, Harbaugh would likely either stay on The Farm or head to the NFL.

Both the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers are expected to make a strong push for Harbaugh’s services.

Unbelievably, especially given how Harbaugh bristled at questions regarding his future following the Orange Bowl thumping of Virginia Tech, it appears there’s more than a fighting chance that the Cardinal will be able to retain the coach.  At least, according to Rosenberg there is.

So why is Harbaugh more likely to stay at Stanford than go to Michigan? The answer was on the field at the Orange Bowl on Monday night, when the fifth-ranked Cardinal (12-1) crushed No. 12 Virginia Tech, 40-12.

Harbaugh has built another dream job for himself, and he is reluctant to leave his Stanford players for another collegiate job. If he stays put for his fifth season, he will have another strong team. Harbaugh has told people he thought quarterback Andrew Luck, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, will return to school next year.

If Harbaugh and Luck are both in Palo Alto next year, Stanford could contend for the national title. If Harbaugh is not in Palo Alto, he figures to be coaching in the NFL.

If RichRod is ultimately dismissed and if Harbaugh is indeed out of play — we’re still not ready to rule him out for Ann Arbor despite the report — where would Michigan turn?

Brady Hoke of San Diego State would certainly be an option.  Hoke, a former Wolverine assistant, has not hidden the fact that he considers Michigan his dream job.

Then again, athletic director David Brandon could always (shudder) retain Rodriguez and his 15-22 record.  Regardless, the head coaching picture at Michigan should be clearer during the latter portion of this week.

Or, if RichRod is retained, just as muddled as ever.